Taking advantage of the ticket scalpers via proximity
January 24, 2013 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Will onsite ticket sellers (scalpers) give discounts to buyers after a sporting event has begun?

I work nearby the new Barclay's Center in Brooklyn. I am not a big basketball fan or arena concert-goer, but I do like attending sports and live events, and recently I have been thinking about how nice it would be to saunter down after work and watch the tail end of a game (or concert). My theory is that if I show up some amount of time after tip-off or showtime, I could get a solid discount on unsold tickets that scalpers are trying to get out of their pockets.

I've purchased tickets right before events from scalpers, but not right at "showtime' (b/c I usually care enough to get in the door before it starts.) But, has anyone ever done taken your sweet time and gotten a discount for it? Or do scalpers leave immediately, or not sell out of principle? If so, is there a sweet spot of time to show up, like 15 minutes, 30 minutes late? Thanks for your thoughts.
posted by RajahKing to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In my experience, no they will not. Because if they did, then everyone else would wait until the event had begun.
posted by Melismata at 10:23 AM on January 24, 2013

Absolutely. More so for sporting events than concerts, but I used to have great luck showing up to college football games during the second quarter and getting tickets for less than face value.
posted by Oktober at 10:34 AM on January 24, 2013

Concerts probably don't drop much until after the opening act is on stage. Sporting event tickets prices on the street will completely tank within minutes of the game starting. If it is not a sell out you can often negotiate well off face value the day of the game. As soon as the scalper starts to worry that he'll be stuck with the ticket he'll be ready to negotiate. When that point happens will vary from event to event. I've picked up $50 face value tickets for $10 a hour before first pitch for MLB several times.
posted by COD at 10:48 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Absolutely for sporting events. The key is that you have to be willing to walk away. The ticket the scalper has was likely given to him at a deep discount or perhaps even for free. Also if he doesn't unload it quickly the value of that seat drops to $0 so it behooves him to get any money he can for the seat. One negotiation tactic they will often use on you is to try to upsell you to a better seat for more money. If you are firm and tell them you only have a single $10 or a $20 on you then you might be immune to these tactics.
posted by mmascolino at 11:02 AM on January 24, 2013

I've done this with music before and it's worked out well. I think it depends how much it looks like you want to go, if you go in the shirt of the team that's playing it's clear what you're trying to do, if you go pretending you don't even know what's on and are just passing then you might pull a fast one. Go in with a maximum price in mind and don't budge, be prepared to walk away.
posted by purplemonkeydishwasher at 11:24 AM on January 24, 2013

Totally. When I lived walking distance to Texas Stadium we went to a lot of games by showing up a few minutes after kick-off and seeing what was available.

At that point, scalpers are selling for salvage value.
posted by 26.2 at 11:28 AM on January 24, 2013

Huh. Totally not my experience with Red Sox games at their peak a few years ago. I guess it just depends on how hot the event is.
posted by Melismata at 11:51 AM on January 24, 2013

Definitely for sporting events. I used to work near Penn Station, and coworkers would check the Knicks and Rangers prices on the way into the subway, often just staying to watch the game when the tickets were <$15
posted by mhz at 12:00 PM on January 24, 2013

I have done this many times in Chicago for concerts and Cubs games. I'd walk up about 30 minutes after the scheduled show time or the first pitch with either $5 or $10 in my hand. I'd offer it to scalpers for a single ticket, and make clear that it was the only price I was willing to pay. Each time I did it, I got a ticket. If you are looking for single tickets only, your chance will be even better, because your guy may have decided to sell off three out of a set of four if he got the right price for them.

After learning my lesson at Wrigley when my money bought a seat at the top of the right field stands, I started asking what kind of seats a guy had, and then offering my price for a specific ticket (often the best one in his hands). Usually they would say no way, but often they'd offer a mid-range ticket for that price and a couple times they'd make the deal.
posted by AgentRocket at 1:24 PM on January 24, 2013

I work near Target Field in Minneapolis and have been able to get tickets very cheap after first pitch. It depends on how the team is playing (the Twins have been bad the last two years) and who they're playing (tickets don't go down as much against rivalry teams).
posted by look busy at 1:25 PM on January 25, 2013

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